Anti-UK Chants Outside Embassy As British Ambassador Summoned By Iran To Explain 'Illegal' Presence At Protest

Rob Macaire has said he was intending to join a vigil for plane crash victims, but left as an anti-government demonstration broke out

Iran has summoned a British ambassador to explain his “illegal and inappropriate presence” at what they have described as an anti-government protest, the Iranian foreign ministry has said.

Rob Macaire was called in to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after being arrested by police on Saturday as demonstrations broke out in Tehran over the downing of a Ukrainian airliner by Iranian forces.

The request threatened to further escalate the diplomatic row between London and Tehran after foreign secretary Dominic Raab denounced Macaire’s detention as a “flagrant violation” of international law.

Dozens of Iranian hard-liners were reported to have gathered outside the British embassy, chanting “Death to England” and calling for the ambassador to be expelled.

Macaire said he had attended a vigil for the victims of Wednesday’s air crash, which killed 176 people and was caused by Iran’s military “unintentionally” shooting the passenger plane down.

He denies taking part in demonstrations and said he had left the area when chanting had begun in the crowd.

Dozens of protestors gather outside the British embassy in Tehran on Sunday.
Dozens of protestors gather outside the British embassy in Tehran on Sunday.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

“Can confirm I wasn’t taking part in any demonstrations! Went to an event advertised as a vigil for victims of PS752 tragedy,” he tweeted.

“Normal to want to pay respects- some of victims were British. I left after five minutes, when some started chanting.”

Macaire said that he was arrested 30 minutes after leaving the area, although he was later released.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency said he was one of a number of people arrested outside the Amir Kabir University on suspicion of organising, provoking and directing radical actions.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs later said on its Telegram channel that he had been summoned over his “illegal and inappropriate presence” at the protests.


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